Pork Sausage and apples is a period concoction; pies are too, and putting anything in a pie goes back to the Middle Ages. I didn’t have any blackbirds to bake in a pie for the last muster but this seemed to satisfy.

Several members asked me for the recipe and as I didn’t have one, you’ll have to be indulgent as to quantities of ingredients. I’ll start with the crust . For meat pies, I like a lard crust. While flaky, they hold up better to the moisture and are substantial .

Pie crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  23 cup lard (or Crisco if you’d rather)
  • 5 -7 tablespoons cold water. I actually use vodka which I store in the freezer. it’s colder than water and the alcohol evaporates when baked.

Directions

  1. Put flour into a mixing bowl with the lard or shortning
  2. Using a pastry cutter or your floured fingers, cut the lard into the flour until it’s very crumbly.
  3. add salt and water.
  4. Mix until dough is formed.
  5. Roll out on flat surface.

I made the crust at home , rolled it out and on waxed paper and brought it with me. Since I made 2 pies, I did two batches which made 4 – 9 inch crusts. I put 2 of them  in pie pans and set aside while I made the filling.

Filling:

  • 2 lbs homemade lean pork sausage (or any kind you want)
  • 2 medium sized sweet onions, chopped fine
  • 1 medium red pepper, 1 small  green pepper, chopped fine
  • 6 medium apples (I used Macintosh but half whatever apple you have AND  half Granny Smith would be great.), peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb divided, grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 tablespoon + of flour (maybe more)
  • 1 egg scrambled
  • 1/4 organic apple vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + Stevia (If it weren’t for my diabetic friends, I’d use dark brown sugar)

Directions:

  1. In a skillet, Crumble the sausage and brown it. Remove after it’s done and set aside.
  2. Deglaze with a little bit of vinegar. Then melt butter, add the onions and peppers and fry until semi soft and the onions are golden. Ad the apples and cook down a little.
  3. Add the sausage back to the pan and mix with the remaining vinegar and sugar or stevia. cook a little to combine.
  4. At this point, you’re done and then you fill the crusts high. the crusts should be in pie pans ready to be filled.
  5. Brush the egg on the sides and bottom of each crust.
  6. mix a bit of flour in the filling to bind the liquid when baking.
  7. Layer the cheese on top and fill each pie.
apples and sausage

Egg washed pie crust and filling

 

cheese

Add the cheese

Put the crust lids on, pinch the sides to close and spread remaining egg wash on tops. Cut vents in to let the steam out.

As to baking. , I put each one in a dutch oven and used what is described as a quick fire, coals on top and on bottom. If I was making this in my oven, I’d start at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes and them reduce to 375 for about 40 minutes or so.

pie baking

Dutch ovens are stacked with coals between. I turned them every 15 minutes.

I made a salad. The dressing was a simple dressing of 3 parts good olive oil (I used infused oil with lemon), a bit of Stevia or sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 part apple cider vinegar. Can’t get anything this good in a restaurant!!!

 

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It’s cold and snowy and there’s nothing better than some good ol’ comfort food. That brings me to mind of meatloaf. Before I get going on making one, I happened to think whether 18th century cooks made meatloaf. Sure enough, it goes back in time, way back if you read this very interesting article by Nadia Arumugan. Nadia Arumugam is a writer in New York City and the author of the cookbook, Chop, Sizzle & Stir. Her work has appeared in Fine Cooking, Slate, Epicurious, NPR, and Saveur, and she writes the Chew On This blog for Forbes.com.
meatloaf

In 1940, the Culinary Arts Institute published a recipe for Savory Meat Loaf that called for beef, vegetable soup, and cereal flakes. A pork loaf from the 1957 Complete American Cookbook was to be seasoned with turmeric, Angostura bitters, meat extract, and caramel. In 2008, the now defunct Gourmet swore a meatloaf of beef, pork, bacon, sautéed onions, garlic, carrots, celery, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, cider vinegar, and prunes, to be the best. It’s no coincidence these seemingly distinct dishes are unified by the incongruous fact that they’re all meatloaf. This peculiarity illustrates the essence of one of our best-loved meals. There is no one way to create meatloaf: It’s precisely this capacity for re-invention that’s allowed the iconic mélange to keep in step with the ebb and flow of American life over the last century. In its nuanced response to societal change, meatloaf has maintained a favored place on our dinner tables.

Had it not been for the advances of the Industrial Revolution, meatloaf as we know it might never have been.
This isn’t to say there aren’t limitations to the dish’s elasticity. The criteria are clear. Ground meat is primary — the options for meatloaf span the gamut of proteins available at the butcher’s counter, but an all-beef or beef and pork combo is commonly called for. The meat must be cut with filler or the loaf will be dense. Breadcrumbs, oatmeal, crackers, Japanese panko crumbs, rice, and minced vegetables are all fair game. Egg and/or dairy of some kind is essential to bind and moisten. As for seasoning, stick with salt and pepper if you’re a purist; if not, raid your pantry. The loaf shape is half the point and it’s provided by a tin or free-form shaping on a baking sheet. Top with bacon or serve naked, glazed, or sauced — these are all acceptable forms of décor.

Though modern meatloaf is an American innovation, its ancestry spans the globe, and centuries. In his cookbook, De Re Coquinaria, Roman gastronome Apicius features chopped meat combined with spices, bread soaked in wine and pine nuts and formed into a patty. In Medieval Europe, odds and ends of meat were arduously diced fine, mixed with seasonings and fruits and nuts, and molded into pie-shaped disks called pastez. The lavish spreads of 17th-century France featured loaves of chopped meats and offal preserved within a hefty layer of gelatin. The Ur-American meatloaf was born in the 18th century courtesy of Pennsylvanian Dutch settlers who were partial to an austere concoction called scrapple. To further stretch the yield of a slaughtered pig — after the steaks, loins, chops, hams, bacon, and sausages were cut and produced — meat was scraped from bones and combined with the lungs, liver, and heart in a cauldron of broth. Cornmeal and seasonings were added and the resulting mush was pressed into loaves, allowed to set, then sliced and pan-fried.

Had it not been for the advances of the Industrial Revolution, meatloaf as we know it might never have been. According to the Oxford Companion to Food, that meatloaf was first mentioned in print in the U.S. in 1899. It was no accident this this was immediately after the invention of the mechanical meat grinder by German inventor Karl Drais. From then on, recipes started appearing in cookbooks. Fannie Farmer’s 1918 edition of The Boston Cooking School Cookbook included two variations of a ground veal-based loaf, as well as a recipe for Cannelon — a dish that recalls almost every aspect of a beef meatloaf, except the name. For the gastronome, the grinder offered a new degree of fineness and consistency of texture. Cooks previously had to chop meat in large wooden bowls using a curved blade, but now they were buying pre-ground meat directly from butchers and working it through grinders. A 1906 grinder from the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia could process 1 ½ pounds of meat per minute, all for $1.75. This, and the fact that beef was increasingly accessible due to advances in refrigeration and a thriving meat packing industry in Chicago, propelled meatloaf onto every housewife’s radar.

For the millions burdened by the hardships of the Depression, it was lucky meatloaf arrived when it did. The notion of meatloaf as comfort food stems from its frequent appearance in this period. Warm and filling, it provided cheap, nourishing sustenance. Tough cuts of beef like chuck or rump were tenderized by way of a good grinding. Small amounts of beef or veal were stretched by adding fillers. Manufacturers commercialized World War I developments in food technology and the ’30s saw a significant shift towards processed and canned products. In addition to bread and crackers, quick-cooking oats, tapioca, breakfast cereal, and powdered sauce mixes could pad out a meatloaf, and condiments such as mustard, bouillon, canned soup, and Heinz ketchup added flavor and moistness at small cost. Manufacturers themselves, seeing an opportunity for increased sales, positioned meatloaf recipes on the backs of products such as Quaker Oats, Campbell’s Soup, and Post Toasties.

With the increased strictures of wartime rationing in the ’40s, meatloaf consolidated its high-ranking position in the housewife’s culinary artillery. Here, meatloaf took on new symbolic significance. By maintaining the health and strength of a country at war, it played its role on the front lines. Penny Prudence’s “Vitality Loaf” was jammed with beef, pork, pork liver, oatmeal, wheat germ, onion-evaporated milk, egg, and chili sauce. The most economical options of this era, however, even deviated from the aforementioned ingredients — they didn’t actually feature meat at all. Capitalizing on the familiar shape and texture of the dish to appeal to the American palate, cookbooks with titles such as Cooking on a Ration (1943) were filled with recipes that used beans, nuts, rice, and soy flour in place of meat.

But meatloaf was capable of more than just budget fare, and the post-war era of the 1950s and ’60s liberated it. Taste and creativity now served as primary ingredients. For a large contingent of women who spent the war in the work force, the ’50s were a time of re-discovering the kitchen. Advertisers, magazines, and newspapers, charged with the task of encouraging women to embrace their new role, glorified the image of the housewife, celebrated kitchen skills, and stressed the importance of being creative as a means to fulfillment. Naturally, meatloaf fit seamlessly into this milieu. It could be personalized and adapted any number of ways, all the while requiring only basic skills. The 1955 edition of the Good Housekeeping cookbook included Sherry-Barbecued Meatloaves, Mushroom-Stuffed Meatloaves, and a Spicy Peach Loaf. The frosted meatloaf, where mashed potato is slathered on a baked loaf, then broiled for a golden crust, debuted in the ’50s. To enliven a simpler offering, there was an inexhaustible trend for garnishing, glazing, saucing, and decorating. The traditional loaf was even temporarily retired in favor of the fashionable ring shape. A proponent of this trend, Betty Crocker, the fictional domestic doyenne of General Mills, advised piling vegetables in the center.

No doubt innovators of the ’50s and ’60s would reel at the next turn in meatloaf’s evolution. The dish maintained its popularity, particularly in blue-collar homes, but dropped the outlandish accoutrements. Recognizing this, supermarkets packaged an inexpensive ground meatloaf mix of 1/3 pork, 1/3 veal, and 1/3 beef. And so the sacred triumvirate that many advocates hold as gospel was born. The dish gained a reputation as tasty, honest fare, for honest, hard-working folk. Then the ’90s happened. Restaurant chefs looking for the next wave of culinary inspiration embraced the food of the home and hearth. They called it comfort food and slapped a $20 price tag on a $2 slice of ground meat and filler.

A tireless chameleon, meatloaf is up to its old tricks again. With more television shows that document exotic fare, eclectic cookbooks that chronicle dishes from around the world, and wider access to global ingredients in mainstream grocery stores, Americans are increasingly hungry for ethnic flavors. According to a study by market research group Mintel, sales of ethnic foods climbed steadily in the early ’00s to reach a record high of $2.2 billion in 2009, and are expected to advance a further 20 percent within the next three years. At Eatery, in Manhattan, a ricotta meatloaf with pecorino sauce and a grape tomato and balsamic reduction is a crowd-pleaser. San Francisco’s Sentinel serves a turkey meatloaf, moisturized with lemon juice, chile paste, tahini and cream. Buckhead Diner in Atlanta adds green chile and chorizo to a veal and wild mushroom loaf. Gussied up once more, this time meatloaf has traded retro cool for ethnic chic.

Yep, they got meatloaf.

Yep, they got meatloaf.

Image: Jovinacooksitalian.

It’s going to be a cold and possibly snowy weekend come the February muster. I want to make some 18th century rib sticking faire and what coukd be better than roasted chicken and dumplings. I found this wonderful blog about the subject and can’t resist reprinting it here.

Thehistoricfoodie's Blog

During the first Great Depression, (as opposed to the one we’re enjoying now), dumplings were a Southern staple.  The dumplings were pretty much the same, but the meat in the pot varied from the standard chicken to squirrel, rabbit, bits of ham, and whatever else happened to be available.  They were basic but filling.

Our 18th century ancestors enjoyed them for the same reasons our grandparents did – they were inexpensive, filling, and could be made quickly with whatever tidbits the cook had at her disposal.

John Day referenced eating a dish of dumplings in 1608 but gave no indication of how they were prepared, and diarist Samuel Pepys did not fail to mention dumplings with a boiled calves head in 1663.  (In the days when no part of the animal was wasted heads routinely went into the pot)

H. Pitman who referred to himself and his brother as…

View original post 1,053 more words

Salmagundy (picture from the Williamsburg website)

When I went to Ireland, getting a fresh salad was neigh impossible. If one asked for a salad, you got a wedge of iceburg and a tempid dressing. The comment I kept hearing was salad was for livestock- grass was not preferred on a plate. Looking to England, I figure that the attitude might be the same. Much to my surprise, I found an 18th century recipe for a salad called Salmagundy. I made this salad and it reminds me of a Cobb salad, great in hot weather and very refreshing.

Looking a bit further, I found that Salmangundy goes back to the 17th century. It’s derived from a French word.

The French word “salmagondis” means a hodgepodge or mix of widely disparate things. The dish aims to produce a wide range of flavors and textures, a kind of salad stew, and popular on pirate ships, believe it or not. (Wikipedia) I found 2 Recipes for salmagundy dating back to the 1500’s and they sound pretty good to me.

  • “Cut cold roast chicken or other meats into slices. Mix with minced tarragon and an onion. Mix all together with capers, olives, samphire, broombuds, mushrooms, oysters, lemon, orange, raisins, almonds, blue figs, Virginia potatoes, peas and red and white currants. Garnish with sliced oranges and lemons. Cover with oil and vinegar, beaten together.” (from The Good Huswives Treasure, Robert May, 1588–1660)
  • “A mixture of minced veal, chicken or turkey, anchovies or pickled herring, and onions, all chopped together and served with lemon juice and oil.”

I found the following recipe on the Williamsburg website “History Is Served: 18th Century Recipes for the 21st Century Kitchen.

http://recipes.history.org/2011/03/to-make-a-salmagundy/

 

18th Century

TAKE two or three Roman or Cabbage-Lettuce; and when you have wash’d them clean, swing them pretty dry in a Cloth; then beginning at the open End, cut them cross-ways, as fine as a good big Thread, and lay the Lettuce so cut about an Inch thick in the Bottom of a Dish: When you have thus garnish’d your Dish, take a couple of cold roasted Pullets or Chickens, and cut the Flesh of the Breasts and Wings into Slices about three Inches long, a quarter of an Inch broad, and as thin as a Shilling, lay them upon the Lettuce round the one End to the middle of the Dish, and the other toward the Brim: Then having bon’d and cut half a dozen Anchovies, each into eight Pieces, lay them all round betwixt each Slice of the Fowls; then cut the lean Meat of the Pullets or Chickens Legs into small Dice, and cut a Lemon into small Dice: Then mince the Yolks of four hard Eggs, with three or four Anchovies, and a little Parsley; and make a round Heap of these in the middle of your Dish, piling it up in the Form of a Sugar-loaf, and garnish it with small Onions as big as the Yolks of Eggs, boiled in a good deal of water, very tender and white; put the largest of the Onions on the middle of the minc’d Meat on the top of the Salamongundy, and lay the rest all round the Brim of the Dish, as thick as you can lay them; then beat some Sallad-Oil up with Vinegar, Salt, and Pepper, and pour over it all; garnish with Grapes just scalded, or French Beans blanched, or Station-Flowers, and serve it up hot for a first Course.

Nott, Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, Art. 35.

21st Century

(I split everything in half for two and it worked extremely well)

  • 1 whole chicken, roasted
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce (I used hearts of Romaine although the hydoponically grown “living” leaf lettuce would be wonderful too )
  • 2 small onions (I used spring onions)
  • 2 2-oz. tins of flat anchovy fillets, partially drained
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 slices of ham (6” round, medium thickness)
  • 4 Tbsp. vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  1. After chicken is roasted, separate meat from the bone. Coarsely chop, keeping the dark meat separate from the white meat.
  2. Shell hard-boiled eggs. Separate the yolks from the whites and mince each separately.
  3. Finely chop the onions and parsley, and dice the lemons. Keep separate.
  4. Cut ham slices into 1” squares.
  5. Wash and drain lettuces, separate leaves, and dry.
  6. On a large round plate, arrange your ingredients as follows, working from the outside into the center in rings: red lettuce leaves, green lettuce leaves, white chicken meat, anchovies, minced egg yolks, diced lemon, dark chicken meat, onions, ham pieces, parsley, and egg whites.
  7. In a small bowl, add oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper (to taste). Mix well and drizzle over entire salad. Serve.

Chef Walter Staib and open hearth cooking

Thanks to Sherry Shook for this fascinating series narrated by Chef Walter Staib, world renouned chef specializing in 18th century cuisine and owner of City Tavern, the oldest continuously used restaurant in Philadelphia. The complexity of the life of James Hemings , older brother to Sally Hemings and chef d’ maison to Jefferson, a world class foodie in his own right, is brought to life here.

http://www.atasteofhistory.org/slavechef.html

More about the Hemings:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Hemings

http://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/james-hemings

http://www.derylmitchell.net/id90.html